A “vertical cemetery”, in which the dead are buried in a modular high-rise tower, has been commended as “a highly original contribution” at an Oslo conference for Nordic cemeteries and graveyards.
“Existing cemeteries will slowly be removed to provide land to the city’s living souls,” Martin McSherry, a student at the Royal Danish School of Architecture, wrote explaining his proposal.
“The vertical cemetery, with its open front, will become a significant part of the city and a daily reminder of death’s existence. In time, the city’s tallest and largest building will become a grave for all its citizens – the city’s ever-changing monument.”
The tower was one of nineteen submissions in a competition held for young architecture and design students by the Nordic Association for Graveyards and Crematoria, prizes for which were given out at the Nordic Congress of Cemeteries and Crematoria in Oslo this September.
McSherry envisages the the city’s different communities each having their own floor, with Jewish, Muslim and Christian cemeteries slotted on top of each other, alongside memorial areas for non-believers, and floors holding the urns of those cremated.
At the side of the building, a crane would be permanently installed to deposit new layers as the old cemeteries are removed or new burial space is required.
The competition was won by McSherry’s classmates Katrine Harving Holm and Henriette Schønheyder van Deurs, who proposed replacing individual graves and tombstones with a collective place of memorial.